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Spain: Female shoe workers organise to fight poor conditions incl. lack of formal employment contracts & low wages

Author: Rocío Ros Rebollo, openDemocracy, Published on: 4 February 2019

"Spanish women shoe workers organise to end decades of exploitation", 28 Jan 2019

[T]he Women Shoe Workers Association (WSA) [...] was established last year to expose [...] the lack of formal employment contracts and poor working conditions [...]

Fifteen years ago, a study found that almost 9,000 people – about half of Elche’s shoe workers – were working without contracts, more than 7,300 of whom were women... Without contracts, they’ve struggled to challenge exploitative working conditions and many work longer hours, for less than the minimum wage, without benefits...

None of the shoe workers [...] interviewed would disclose [the names of the brands] in fear that companies may stop producing shoes in Elche. Their goal is rather to demand this industry provides contracts and better conditions...

[T]he CCOO trade union federation [...] said they should report specific employers to the police for investigation.

Though there are reasons workers may not do this – including fears of being ‘blacklisted’ by employers...

[T]he WSA workers are also demanding that the physical and mental impacts of their work be officially recognised as ‘occupational illnesses’...

The vast majority of women shoe workers in Elche work for subcontractors that supply bigger companies and brands. The WSA also aims to challenge this system... [refers to Tempe, Zara, Pull & Bear, Inditex, Cuplé]

Read the full post here

Related companies: Cuplé Pull & Bear (part of Inditex) Tempe (part of Inditex) Zara (part of Inditex)